The Nets have hit a crossroads, even though they’ll have ample salary-cap space to pursue at least two top-level free agents next summer, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.com opines. While the franchise’s reputation has improved and it plays in a top market, improved play on the court is essential to attract those types of players, Puccio continues. Another eight-game improvement, for example, probably wouldn’t move the needle for free agents like Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving. If the Nets reach the midway point next season and aren’t in playoff contention, they may be faced with the difficult decision of moving assets for an All-Star level player or tanking in order to move into the lottery, Puccio adds.
We have more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas said the DeMar DeRozan trade to the Spurs shows the fickleness within the business, as Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas tweets. “Maybe now while I’m talking all the papers are set and I’m moving to Detroit. You just never know in this business. DeMar was really great, loyal player. But I think you can’t blame anybody.” Valanciunas will return to Toronto on September 15 to prepare for training camp, Urbonas adds in another tweet.
- The Sixers should have spent more time this summer pursuing young up-and-comers in executive roles around the league, rather than focusing on ‘elite GMs,’ Derek Bodner of The Athletic argues. Philadelphia’s GM search has dragged on for 11 weeks and now it reportedly will focus on candidates further down in their current team’s organizational chart. The Sixers should have been vetting those types of candidates much earlier, Bodner adds.
- Hiring David Fizdale as head coach was the right move for the Knicks, Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders opines. His motivational skills and reputation as a player’s coach will help turn the franchise around, Davies continues. His commitment to building relationships with his players was reinforced by his recent trip to Latvia to visit his injured star, Kristaps Porzingis.